Janet Yellen knows a deep recession and a patchy recovery from the inside. She'll need all that policy prowess and a healthy dollop of political nous to steer the U.S., and by default the rest of the world, through this epic slowdown.

The former Federal Reserve chair is Joe Biden’s pick for Treasury secretary, according to people familiar with the matter. She’s probably the most qualified person to ever hold the post. Yellen led the central bank during the arduous climb back from the global financial crisis with all its fits and starts. She also served as vice chair, head of the San Francisco Fed, a Fed governor and chair of the Council of Economic Advisers under Bill Clinton. This is more than a steady hand in a tough time. It isn't a stretch to say she will be to economics what George Marshall — as onetime Army chief of staff, secretary of state and secretary of defense — was to foreign policy.

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